Education Week - January 14, 2015 - (Page 13)

GOVERNMENT & POLITICS N.Y. Governor Aims to Flex Muscles on Education Policy Teacher issues, governance high on Cuomo's agenda By Andrew Ujifusa As he plunges into his second term, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared his ambition to push for major and controversial changes to education policy that could put him at odds with leading K-12 officials-and, in some respects, his own record. As a sign of his intense dissatisfaction with the status quo of New York's K-12 system, Gov. Cuomo last month vetoed his own bill-approved by legislators last year-that for two years would have shielded teachers and principals from poor ratings stemming from new tests aligned with the Common Core State Standards. And in a letter last month sent on his behalf by a subordinate, Gov. Cuomo asked Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch of the state board of regents about the viability of a variety of policy changes, including raising the cap on the number of charter schools; making it easier to remove "poorperforming educators" from schools; merging or consolidating districts; and doing away with the system of letting state legislators pick the chancellor and other board members. Back and Forth Ms. Tisch's extensive response two weeks later, in which she proposed that lawmakers seriously reconsider teacher tenure and other issues, will likely only add to the intrigue around public school policy in New York state in 2015, especially given the recent departure of state Commissioner of Education John B. King. "Everything is up for grabs this year," said David Albert, a spokesman for the New York State School Boards Association. "Education New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who kicked off his second term as governor this month, has signaled his intention to shake up the status quo on education policy in the state. Last month he vetoed his own bill that would have protected some teachers and principals from poor evaluations. seems to be taking center stage." Gov. Cuomo's rejection of his own legislation on educator ratings may be unusual. But the Democratic governor's creation and support of the bill in the first place, along with his rhetoric during his 2014 re-election bid echoing national anxiety about the impact of standardized testing, have proved to be exceptions to the governor's usual approach to K-12, said Jeffrey R. Henig, a professor of political science and education at Teachers College, Columbia University. "In my mind, some of this is less backtracking than returning to course," said Mr. Henig of Gov. Cuomo's post-election strategy. In addition, the departure of Commissioner King, who was appointed by the board of regents in 2011 and oversaw the state's $700 million federal Race to the Top grant, could create a natural opportunity for Gov. Cuomo to increase his influence and renew his feud with the state teachers' union. Mr. King left at the start of this year to serve as a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. 'Little Power Over Education' It's unclear to what extent Gov. Cuomo's approach will mirror that of his fellow Democrat and neighbor, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy. Mr. Malloy also pursued sharply debated Head Start Partnerships to Provide New Resources, Standards for Day Care By Christina A. Samuels When a half-billion dollars in federal money begins rolling out later this year, hundreds of private daycare providers will have a chance to tap into extensive new early-learning resources, in exchange for meeting stringent Head Start standards. The Obama administration wants Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Grants to boost the quality of child care available to infants and toddlers from low-income families by forging partnerships between small centers and family-day-care homes and Early Head Start, which serves infants, toddlers up to age 3, and pregnant women. But the benefits of federal funding come with substantial challenges for these small businesses. They have just 18 months from the time they receive their money to fully meet Head Start's many standards, which regulate teacher qualifications, child-to-adult ratios, and family involvement, all the way down to frequency of hand washing and proper disposal of potty contents. State child-care licensing regulations are generally much more relaxed; for example, some states allow one adult with a high school diploma or equivalent to care for as many as six babies. Early Head Start requires care providers to have at least a childdevelopment associate credential and care for no more than four babies. Combining Strengths Carol Keintz, the executive director of the Next Door Foundation in Milwaukee, which received a $4.8 million grant, acknowledged that the Head Start requirements can seem "daunting." However, the positives outweigh those concerns for the social service agency, she said. In looking for community child-care centers with which to form partnerships, the foundation focused on those that were already well-regarded and achieving top rankings through Wisconsin's quality-rating and -improvement system. changes to state policy and clashed with unions early in his term but softened his public stance about testing during a successful re-election bid. (Unlike Mr. Cuomo, Gov. Malloy has the power to pick the state's next permanent education commissioner-the current Connecticut schools chief, Dianna Roberge-Wentzell, was approved by the state board of education last week on an interim basis.) But the letter sent to Chancellor Tisch on Gov. Cuomo's behalf last month by New York state's director of operations, James J. Malatras, was particularly blunt about the PAGE 15 > AT A GLANCE "My sense is that, together as a community, we can do better with leveraging more resources and each other's expertise," Ms. Keintz said. "We could have gone for more children for us, but it seemed to make more sense if we mobilized others in the community." Another grantee is the Lee County school district in Florida, whose Early Head Start program primarily benefits teenage parents who can then continue their education. The district currently serves 126 children in Early Head Start and expects that 72 more children will be served through a $900,000 federal grant, said Maggie Stevens, the principal of early-childhood-learning services for the district. The money will allow the 76,000-student district to form partnerships with nine community day-care centers- five child-care centers and four familyday-care homes-which offer longer hours and more convenient locations for parents, Ms. Stevens said. When the district first made plans PAGE 15 > EARLY HEAD START n Created in 1994 to serve children from infancy to age 3, and pregnant women. n Serve 4% of eligible children, or about 150,100, as well as 6,400 pregnant women and their families (fiscal year 2013) PARTNERSHIP INITIATIVE n Obama administration set aside $500 million in January 2014 to pay for partnerships between Early Head Start centers and private child-care providers. n Goal is to increase the number of child-care centers available to low-income families that meet Head Start's quality standards. n Preliminary award of 234 grants announced in December; more awards to be made through March 2015. SOURCE: U.S. Department of Health And Human Services, Office of Head Start EDUCATION WEEK | January 14, 2015 | | 13 Harry Scull Jr./The Buffalo News iStockphoto

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 14, 2015

Education Week - January 14, 2015
Mandatory State Testing on Thin Ice
Feds Confront Doubts in Plan To Fix Tribal Schools
TFA-Like Corps Places Advisers In High Schools
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Pittsburgh Collaboration Seen as Model
News in Brief
Report Roundup
With Common Core, More States Sharing Test Questions
New Study Plan Set on Down Syndrome
Blogs of the Week
Growth of Md. Advising Program Runs Into Familiar Controversy
N.Y. Governor Aims to Flex Muscles On Education Policy
Head Start Partnerships to Provide New Resources, Standards for Day Care
State of the States
Blogs of the Week
FREDERICK M. HESS: The 2015 Edu-Scholar Rankings
How Does an Edu-Scholar Influence K-12 Policy?
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
WILLIAMSON M. EVERS: Exit, Voice, Loyalty—and the Common Core

Education Week - January 14, 2015